Summer is the season where heat returns in full force, leaving your skin to bake in the sun. And while getting a nice tan isn’t bad for you, how you treat your skin in the warm climate is crucial in avoiding not just skin cancer, but also photoaging, which is premature aging of the skin.
“All the changes that people associated with aging comes about as a result of sun damage,” said Dr. Michael Danneberg, chair of dermatology at Huntington Hospital. “This is the time of year where you really want to be diligent about trying to avoid those long term ramifications.”
The chairman, who has been practicing dermatology for around 25 years, has tips on how people can keep their skin protected in the hot weather.
Tip no. 1: Sunscreen
The most obvious but most important tip Danneberg suggests is remembering to apply sunscreen whenever you are out in the sun to protect against the rays of the sunlight.
“[People] should be using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30,” said Danneberg. “It should also be a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, covering UVA and UVB.” Some people may need oil-free sunscreen for certain skin conditions, such as bad acne or rosacea. In terms of what brands you should consider buying, Danneberg suggests trying multiple and finding the one you think fits you best. “The best sunscreen is one that feels good on you,” said Danneberg. “If you don’t like the way it feels, you probably won’t want to use it.”
Tip no. 2: Cover Yourself Up
Another way to protect your skin from the sun is shielding yourself using what you wear and where you stand. Danneberg says simply wearing a shirt would help protect your body against the rays of the sun. If you are going to the beach, one of the best things to bring with you is an umbrella to keep you in the shade while still enjoying the atmosphere. And when it comes to hats you wear in the summer, make sure you choose one that will completely protect you from the sun. “A wide-rimmed hat, not a golf or baseball hat, that has a three-and-a-half inch rim that goes 360 degrees works,” he said.
Tip no. 3: Keeping Cool
While sweating during the summer isn’t bad for you, it may cause some irritation and rashes on the skin. In order to prevent that, Danneberg suggests a few easy ways to keep yourself at a cool temperature. “A cold, moist cloth around the neck is very effective in removing heat from your body,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be dripping, just moist. Also, letting the car air out a little bit before getting inside of it. Open windows on both sides because the cars can be baking when you get into it.” Finding shade is an effective way to find cool air that may prevent sweating. Those at risk for heat stroke should also avoid direct sunlight.
Tip no. 4: Always Remove Cosmetics
The summer is the time to go out at night and spend time with people. In most cases, people tend to put on beauty products in order to look their best and feel comfortable. While applying these won’t harm your skin, keeping them on for unnecessary periods of time will.
“Just be diligent that when you come home, it’s important in this kind of heat to remove any irritating makeups or lotions from the skin and clean well with a mild cleanser.”
While it important to use moisturizer, Danneberg said it isn’t as important during the summer as it is during the winter as natural oils keep the skin healthy.